Bringing the inside out: leveraging outdoor instruction on a dense site
Betsy Ross Elementary School is a multi-level K-2 school located in the heart of Forest Park, a small-town community in an urban setting. It is the oldest school in the District with a limited amount of open space for outdoor instruction or unstructured activities.
Wight provided a Design Led-Design Build approach to the construction of a 7,000-sf addition and renovations to the existing building geared towards supporting the next generation of learners. An addition of two new classrooms and the remodeling of the old gym into a library and small group learning areas was also included.
On the outside, “naturescape” venues replaced the surrounding paved basketball courts on the north and west sides of the site. Landscaping was added along the front of the facility to soften the transition to the adjacent houses. The project had a fast-track schedule that required completion of the addition, renovations, and new naturescape areas over the District’s summer-break.
2015 Award of Merit, Excellence in the Design of Educational Environments, Illinois Association of School Boards